Cocaine-laden ‘narcosub' sinks in Panama
Thursday, December 06 2012 @ 01:15 AM UTC
Contributed by: Don Winner
Costa Rica anti-drug commissioner Mauricio Boraschi said 66 packages of cocaine, each weighing about one kilo, came to the surface after the craft went down in deep water near the Panama-Costa Rica border on Wednesday.
Experts believe some 4000 kilos of cocaine went to the bottom of the ocean with the vessel sank, he said.
One suspect - the man believed to have pulled the plug to let the craft sink - was dead when the Coast Guard arrived, Boraschi said.
The Costa Rican Coast Guard was tipped off about the semi-submersible by a US plane on an anti-drug overflight, and chased the craft into Panamanian waters.
"When we arrived to rescue a US ship arrived and then a Panamanian airplane ... to provide help, and the suspects surrendered along with their products," Boraschi said.
Custom-built semi-submersible crafts, often built out of fiberglass and equipped with electric-diesel engines, are commonly used by drug cartels to smuggle cocaine from labs in South America to staging points in central America, and then to be smuggled into the United States via Mexico.
The typical "narco-subs" operates largely underwater, with just the cockpit and exhaust pipes above surface. (AAP)